It was extremely difficult watching my mother struggle to raise four children on a $300 a week salary. As the oldest of my siblings, I was most aware of the struggles, and I remember comforting my mother after we lost our first apartment my first year in the United States. She contemplated separating us and entering a shelter. I stood up to her defiantly, telling her I was going with her.
The way my mother worked miracles to ensure we were fed, clothed, and housed shaped my attitudes toward money. I always told myself that I wouldn’t allow money to have a hold on me. I was going to work as hard as I possibly can to never have to worry about money. I wasn’t going to give money any power in my life, I wouldn’t even give it the respect that it deserves enough to budget or make and stick to financial goals. It wasn’t until an email arrived in my inbox a couple of weeks ago that I realized just how uncomfortable I really am with money.
The email arrived bright and early on November 2, from Maya of Mayaelious.com to launch her #GetPaidChallenge. The subject: “Get yo’ money, Nia!” I opened the email excited to see some new tips on how to make money online or monetizing my blog.
Maya is a personal branding strategist and like me, she believes in the power of passion and purpose. I’ve followed her journey from graphic designer to coach and she provides incredible content for free on a range of topics from branding to strategy.
The goal of the challenge was to show how to promote your brand, pitch your ideas and build a profitable biz. All things I’m currently working to improve and information I would definitely benefit from. Maya has been incredibly gracious to me by commenting on my blog and participating in my first #creativesmartgirl chat on Twitter.
I was looking forward to the challenge until I read:
“I like money... a lot. And I'm not apologetic or shy about it.”
I stopped in my tracks and became extremely uncomfortable. A younger me would have blamed Maya. How dare she send me an email about liking money? But instead, I decided to ask myself why I felt uneasy. Maya said that money was only a tool to help her fulfill her purpose. So what was my real problem with this email?
The answer was in my history with money. So many of my experiences with money were negative, those associations immediately started flooding back. ‘Don’t talk about money.’ ‘Don’t give money power.’ ‘Just work hard and all of your money problems will be over.’
The next few lines of the email quickly distracted those thoughts:
“This month I want to make $10,000. Yeah... that scared me, too. But I've done it before. More than once. And I not-so-secretly want to do it again. Alright, now that I've been transparent with you, what's your number? I don't care if it's $500 or $1,000 or $10,000, but understand that the bigger the goal, the deeper the strategy. You're going to have to work harder and smarter for wanting more. Just saying.”
It wasn’t the $10,000 that made me dizzy. Maya consistently delivers quality work and deserves whatever she earns. It was the thought of publicly naming my number. I was completely outside of my of my comfort zone. I didn't end up participating in the challenge but it shifted my money mindset. In that moment, I knew that I had to change my relationship with money. The one I was holding onto wasn’t serving me at all.
I spent my life trying to avoid letting money have a significant hold on my life because of my experiences with it as a child, not realizing that it was still controlling me. In order to be comfortable with money, I need to discipline myself to respect it. It doesn’t have to control me, but it shouldn’t make me uncomfortable either.